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There is nothing like watching agile giants catch balls and move other giants out of the way for their teammates. Tight Ends are some of the best athletes on the field at times and are pivotal to the current NFL offensive landscape. These massive pass catchers can be a quarterback’s bestfriend, a linebacker’s nightmare and a defensive back’s headache all in the same game. Here are five guys from the college ranks that fit that mold:
1. Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
HT: 6’6” WT: 257 lbs.
2020 Statline: 2020 Statline: 44 receptions, 591 yards, 7 touchdowns, 13.4 yards per reception
Kolar is the quintessential modern-day tight end. Big, strong and rangy, he knows how to use his large frame to shield defenders and create a target for his quarterback. The Iowa State product also gets open a lot and knows how to work zones with his route running.
He is a YPC machine, as evidenced by his 13.4 yards per catch. Kolar doesn’t show a lot of athleticism as far as speed goes but makes up for it with a large catch radius. If he times well it will only solidify his status as the best tight end in the draft.
2. Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
HT: 6’5” WT: 265 lbs.
2020 Statline: 46 receptions, 506 yards, 6 touchdowns, 11.0 yards per reception
Jalen Wydermyer is more of a large wide receiver than a tight end and it shows in how the Aggies use him. He lined up mostly in the slot, which saw him draw one on one matchups with safeties, which he took great advantage of. Wydermyer possesses elite speed for the position which helps him beat man coverage and has large, soft hands.
His tape lacks a lot of blocking which makes me leery of his ability to do so at the next level. He translates more to a David Njoku than a Travis Kelce type but can still be a top target for teams looking for a premier tight end. I think he has the ability of a first rounder but could see his stock fall if scouts have questions about his fit in blocking schemes.
3. Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
HT: 6’4” WT: 240 lbs.
2020 Statline: 30 receptions, 601 yards, 5 touchdowns, 20.0 yards per reception
As far as production goes, Likely is one of the top tight ends in the country. Likely is a cut from a the “tight end of the future” mold: his speed and athleticism make him hard to cover with a safety and almost impossible to cover with a linebacker. His 20.0 yards per catch is also staggering and shows proof to his explosiveness as a deep threat down the seams of the field.
Likely isn’t on many radars due to the small school stigma but he was an integral part of the Chanticleers’ success. He can block some but will need to add weight to deal with the assignments he will draw in the league. All in all, he can either be a sneaky early round pick or the steal of the draft.
4. Will Mallory, Miami
HT: 6’5” WT: 245 lbs.
2020 Statline: 22 receptions, 329 yards, 4 touchdowns, 15.0 yards per reception
Will Mallory is one of the few guys who has all the ability but has yet to put it all together. He flashes excellent athleticism, hands and route running but at times disappears. He is smooth in his transitions from release to route and can be a weapon in the right scheme.
For such a big man he doesn’t “go get it” like you would want to see from a big tight end. He also alligator arms catches and allows them into his body which will result in drops at the next level. He is a big play threat and that is enough to warrant a look from a team in need of a tight end.
T-5. Trey McBride, Colorado State
HT: 6’4” WT: 260 lbs.
2020 Statline: 22 receptions, 330 yards, 4 touchdowns, 15.0 yards per reception
McBride, like Mallory, is a big athletic specimen who is raw in his form but has promise. He knows how to use his body and flashes good burst in the open field. His overall size lends itself to being a capable blocker and he has shown good ability to do so.
As I stated before, McBride is raw: he lumbers though routes and relies on his speed to bail him out. He has big play ability and can be used in a lot of ways which will intrigue scouts at the pro level. If he puts all his tools together, McBride can climb up a lot of boards during the evaluation process.
T-5. Cade Otton, Washington
HT: 6’5” WT: 240 lbs.
2020 Statline: 18 receptions, 258 yards, 3 touchdowns, 14.3 yards per reception
Otton is the most traditional tight end of the top prospects. He is more of an in-line, hand in the dirt tight end than his contemporaries but he is still a great pass catcher nonetheless. His field awareness is top notch, seeming to always know where the sticks are or where to sit a route down in a zone.
Otton’s only achilles’ heel is that he isn’t a featured part of his team’s offense. His role could be expanded and if so, he has the ability to take advantage of it. Otton is perfect for a team looking for a traditional blocking tight end with pass catching ability.